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ACB wants Aadhaar data, UIDAI says let card holders be heard first

A district magistrate had allegedly issued “fake certificates, certifying as Delhi residents for making Aadhaar Cards, to over 400 people from his home state, Rajasthan”.

Written by Sofi Ahsan | New Delhi |
Updated: May 11, 2022 2:35:45 am
Following UIDAI’s submission that it has no objection in sharing the information in the manner as permissible under the Act, a single bench on January 20 had directed the disclosure of information as required for the purposes of investigation.

Months after the Delhi High Court directed the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to provide information related to 450 Aadhaar cards to Delhi’s Anti Corruption Branch for investigation of a recruitment scam, the statutory authority has sought modification of the order saying that the concerned Aadhaar card holders need to be provided an opportunity of hearing before passing such order.

The Anti Corruption Branch of Delhi government in December 2021 had approached the court seeking an order for disclosure of the information, particularly the date and place of issuance of Aadhar cards, date of updation and the documents submitted for updation. The agency is probing a 2019 complaint alleging a scam in the recruitment of marshals for DTC buses.

A district magistrate had allegedly issued “fake certificates, certifying as Delhi residents for making Aadhaar Cards, to over 400 people from his home state, Rajasthan”. The Aadhaar cards with bogus addresses were allegedly prepared at the Aadhaar centre functioning in the office of the district magistrate on August 11 and 12 in 2019, as per the complaint registered at Anti Corruption Branch.

Section 33 (1) of the Aadhaar Act allows a High Court to permit disclosure of information under the Act. The investigating agency had argued that the information required by it falls within the ambit of ‘identity information’ and is crucial for establishing the forgery committed.

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Following UIDAI’s submission that it has no objection in sharing the information in the manner as permissible under the Act, a single bench on January 20 had directed the disclosure of information as required for the purposes of investigation. However, the UIDAI has now moved the court saying that the 450 Aadhaar number holders need to be added as party respondents to the case “so that they can be heard and necessary orders can be passed after giving them an opportunity of hearing”.

Pertinently, the 2019 amendment to the Aadhaar Act brought a provision to the Section 33 (i) according to which the court cannot pass an order without giving an opportunity of hearing to the concerned Aadhar number holder too. The court is scheduled to hear the case on May 13.

 

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